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Agile Planning Reduces Stress for Business and Developers

In The Freedom of Limited Capacity, Agile trainer and coach Mishkin Berteig has written about what happened when he applied Agile planning practices to his own business. The early results were unexpected: by making his work queue visible, he now had a better way to grapple with reality. In his story, Berteig reminds us that, as we all know, reality bites.
In some ways this has been quite frustrating. I have a huge queue of work I want to get done for my business. But the other side of the coin, the one that looks different than I expected, is that knowing just how limited my capacity is... is liberating! I don't feel nearly as stressed as I did four weeks ago. I have the courage to commit at an appropriate level. I can start to believe my plans. I can see - realistically - just how much I need help to achieve my goals. I can see how soon I will be able to do cost/benefit analysis on hiring vs. doing the work myself.
So, paradoxically, he is now experiencing a reduction in his stress level - due to a large and visible backlog!  In retrospect, he recognized this same pattern in the early iterations of Agile teams he coaches - it just looks a little different when all tasks are software-related:
I have worked with a number of teams that have gotten to this point of certainty about their capacity. I've seen this happen in others... and now I recognize it for what it is: relief. ... One of my former students... talked about the incredible level of trust that developed between his team and the rest of the organization after consistently, iteration after iteration after iteration, meeting their commitments.
For those interested in Agile planning practices, Berteig has also written Seventeen Tips for Iteration Planning on his site.

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Community comments

  • Do agile or die young

    by Bruce Rennie,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Hey, if that don't make em come over from the dark side, nothing will. ;)

  • Re: Do agile or die young

    by Mishkin Berteig,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    :-) I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who have not had to resort to agile methods in order to reduce stress in their lives. I just happen to be one of the obstinate over-achiever, over-committing kind of folks who won't learn until it's thrown in my face over and over again! I love agile!

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